Secretary of the Army Visits Rock Island Arsenal
Maj. Gen. Chris Mohan, U.S. Army Sustainment Command commanding general, welcomes Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth during her visit at the ASC Headquarters on Rock Island Arsenal, Illinois, June 6. (Photo by Linda Lambiotte, ASC Public Affairs) (Photo Credit: Linda Lambiotte) VIEW ORIGINAL

ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. — The abilities of Rock Island Arsenal were the focus of a visit on June 6 by the Army’s senior civilian official.

Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth made her first official visit to the arsenal on a humid Monday punctuated by occasional showers. The rain held off during Wormuth’s windshield tour of the arsenal, which took place after she was greeted at Building 390 by Maj. Gen. Chris Mohan, commanding general of the U.S. Army Sustainment Command, who held a brief office call with Wormuth.

Wormuth then toured Rock Island Arsenal's Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center, shortned as RIA-JMTC, to learn more about recent advances and improvements made at the center and to discuss the factory’s castings and forgings operations.

Along with Mohan, those accompanying her on the tour included U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos, who represents Illinois’ 17th Congressional District; Doug Bush, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology; Maj. Gen. Darren Werner, commanding general of the U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command at Warren, Michigan, which serves as RIA-JMTC’s higher headquarters; and Col. Landis Maddox, commander of the U.S. Army Joint Munitions Command which, like ASC, is headquartered at RIA.

The highlight of the tour was RIA-JMTC’s foundry, which is used to create essential components for military vehicles and weapons.

“The United States has limited domestic casting and forging capabilities,” said Werner. “However, we have the capability to create this equipment at the RIA-JMTC foundry.”

The tour concluded at RIA-JMTC’s Advanced Manufacturing Center of Excellence, where 3D printing technology is used to build equipment out of polymer, multiple types of metal, wax and even sand.

Secretary of the Army Visits Rock Island Arsenal
Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth meets Maj. Gen. Chris Mohan, U.S. Army Sustainment Command commanding general, at Rock Island Arsenal, Illinois, June 6. (Photo by Linda Lambiotte, ASC Public Affairs) (Photo Credit: Linda Lambiotte) VIEW ORIGINAL

“One of the things I think is unique about RIA-JMTC is how many different types of manufacturing activities take place here,” she added. “I’m looking forward to seeing some of the more advanced work you’re doing.”

With 3D printing machines humming in the background, Wormuth led a media availability at the center where she told local media representatives about what impressed her most during her visit.

“Before I came here, I didn’t realize what an incredible history you had at the arsenal,” she said. “I was also impressed by the high-tech manufacturing methods that are now being practiced here.”

Responding to rumors of possible base closures and realignments, Wormuth indicated that the future boded well for RIA.

“Rock Island Arsenal is as important today as it’s ever been,” she said. “What’s neat about the arsenal is how many different types of manufacturing take place here, and the level of expertise found in all areas.”

Wormuth pointed to RIA as a leader in the Army’s organic industrial base strategy, which is aimed at building and maintaining the capability to produce and sustain advanced weapon systems.

“What I see here is a fantastic example of transformation and modernization,” she said. “There are other places where we need to do this.”

Secretary of the Army Visits Rock Island Arsenal
Rock Island Arsenal Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center personnel provide details about the capabilities of RIA-JMTC to Christine Wormuth, Secretary of the Army, at Rock Island Arsenal, Illinois, June 6. (Photo by Linda Lambiotte, ASC Public Affairs) (Photo Credit: Linda Lambiotte) VIEW ORIGINAL

In response to a question about the U.S. role in defending Ukraine, Wormuth discussed the critical part played by ASC in supporting ongoing operations in Europe.

“Army Sustainment Command is at the center of moving equipment and making sure it’s getting to the right places and is shipped to Europe as quickly as possible,” she said. “ASC also assured that our troops deployed to Germany were able to fall in on prepositioned equipment and get what they needed where and when they needed it.”

After meeting with local civilian aides to the Secretary of the Army, Wormuth went to a conference room in RIA-JMTC where she received briefings on the missions and current operations of ASC and JMC.

During the ASC briefing, Wormuth learned about how the command is taking a data-centric approach to improving the quality of permanent change of station moves, and how it is modernizing its approach to workforce management through initiatives such as increased telework and open office floor plans.

Wormuth commented that, during her time at the RAND Corporation, an open office plan had been implemented in one section of the building.

“It was adopted enthusiastically by the younger employees, and a lot of the older employees eventually became converts,” she said. “It’s beautiful when it’s done right.”

Secretary of the Army Visits Rock Island Arsenal
Greg Lupton, deputy commander, Rock Island Arsenal Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center, gives details about the capabilities of RIA-JMTC to Christine Wormuth, Secretary of the Army, at Rock Island Arsenal, Illinois, June 6. (Photo by Linda Lambiotte, ASC Public Affairs) (Photo Credit: Linda Lambiotte) VIEW ORIGINAL

ASC manages about 25 percent of the Army’s non-tactical vehicle fleet, and Wormuth was told that the command was working toward achieving her objective of converting to all electric vehicles by 2026. Given the increased demand for electric vehicles by both government agencies and private individuals, though, meeting that goal may be difficult due to limited availability.

Wormuth was also briefed on how ASC used the Logistics Civil Augmentation Program to temporarily house, feed and provide other services to refugees from Afghanistan who were being resettled in the U.S. under Operation Allies Welcome.

“I was very concerned about this operation because of the implications if things went wrong,” Wormuth said. But she added that her concerns were alleviated when she visited a tent camp set up by LOGCAP contractors at Fort Bliss, Texas.

“I tip my hat to you for how well done this was,” she said, “and how you went from nothing to a place where the refugees could be taken care of. Any problems that arose were handled right away. I was truly impressed.”

During the JMC portion of the briefing, Maddox discussed JMC’s core competencies and outlined how the command provided ready, reliable and lethal munitions in support of global operations.

“I’m encouraging the Army’s commands to buy more munitions,” Wormuth said. “Our advanced systems and weapons may be the best in the world, but they don’t do us much good if they don’t have adequate munitions.”

Secretary of the Army Visits Rock Island Arsenal
Christine Wormuth, Secretary of the Army, looks over various pieces of equipment produced at RIA-JMT during a tour of the facilities, June 6. (Photo by Linda Lambiotte, ASC Public Affairs) (Photo Credit: Linda Lambiotte) VIEW ORIGINAL

Maddox told Wormuth that JMC was committed to her priorities of people, readiness and modernization, and was focused on meeting the needs of the workforce, the joint warfighter and the Army of 2030. In turn, he asked for her support as the command transforms its facilities to meet the demands of the warfighters of tomorrow.

Before departing, Wormuth presented Secretary of the Army coins to the following individuals from organizations based at RIA for their recent contributions and accomplishments.

  • ASC: Mike McDowell, director of the Lead Materiel Integration Directorate; Megan Peterson, chief of Second Destination Transportation; Jim Spencer, chief of the R2 and Integration Division; and Heather Tahja, program director for Journey to Leadership.
  • JMC: Bryan Arensdorff, deputy for the Munitions Logistics Readiness Center; Joe Klunder, director of Sustainment Production; Kelly Porschke, director of Security Assistance; and Dave Banian, director of Munitions Logistics.
  • RIA-JMTC: Jennifer Burke, program analyst for Earned Value Management; Tony Carpenter, engineering technician; Randl Besse, project manager; and Jason Bachtel, chief of the Laboratory and Process Development Division.
  • RIA GARRISON: Jerry Vesey, chief of the Operations and Maintenance Division; and Alan Knack of Child and Youth Services.